Find out about free events available for everyone in Coventry and Warwickshire as part of World Autism Acceptance Week 2023.
From 27 March to 2 April, Warwickshire County Council and partners across Coventry and Warwickshire, will be marking World Autism Acceptance Week with special online events for families and professionals interested in finding out more about autism.
Organised by UK charity The National Autistic Society, World Autism Acceptance Week is an opportunity to highlight the importance of understanding more about autism and to inspire others to take steps to build kinder, more inclusive communities.
Individuals, families, professionals and businesses are all encouraged to take part in the week by signing up to the free events on offer and taking the opportunity to discover more about autism, and the information and support available for autistic people and those who work or live alongside them.
Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and the world around them. Being autistic means your brain works in a different way to other people's and although there are common characteristics, each person's experience of autism is different. In the UK, there are around 700,000 autistic adults and children. The National Autistic Society has made a short video that explains simply what autism is – you can watch it here.
The special events will offer an opportunity for people to enrich their understanding of autism and hear directly from autistic people about their own experiences. All events are free to attend and will be delivered online:
Act for Autism: Self-awareness and self-identity including Q&A – Tue 28 March, 6.45 - 7.30pm. Be the first to see the latest film from the award winning Act for Autism film project. Join the cast for a live Q&A and find out how working on self-advocacy (speaking up for yourself) and self-awareness (knowing about your autism) is the key to positive self-esteem for autistic children and young people. This is aimed at all those living with or working to support autistic children and young people however anyone can join. Register here.
Nurturing a positive Autistic identity for professionals – Tue 28 March, 1pm – 2.30pm. Delivered by Cathy Wassell - a neurodivergent mum to neurodivergent young people. This webinar aims to provide professionals working to support autistic children and young people an opportunity to understand how they can nurture the young person to develop a positive view of their autistic identity and become advocates for themselves and others. Register here.
Nurturing a positive Autistic identity for families and carers – Wed 29 March, 12pm – 1pm. This webinar aims to provide parents, carers and family members supporting a Neurodiverse young person to understand how they can nurture the young person to develop a positive view of their autistic identity and become advocates for themselves and others. Register here.
Nigel Minns, Strategic Director for People Group said: “Autism Acceptance Week is a fantastic opportunity for partners across Coventry and Warwickshire to come together to support individuals, families, businesses, schools and other service providers to broaden their understanding and acceptance of autism.
“If we want to achieve our shared vision of autistic people and their families being enabled to live fulfilling and rewarding lives within a society which accepts and understands them, we need everyone to play their part. This is why I would encourage everyone to get involved in the week by registering for one of the free events and accessing some of the fantastic resources available, both locally and nationally, to make our communities more inclusive and autism-friendly.”
During all of Autism Acceptance Week, the County Council will be sharing more information, stories and resources on social media. Follow along: Twitter @Warwickshire_CC and Facebook WarwickshireCountyCouncil.
Last year, partner organisations across Coventry and Warwickshire made a commitment to commission high-quality autism services and support for adults, children and young people launching a new five-year All-Age Autism Strategy. A significant funding package of £10m over two years was agreed to reduce the backlog of assessments, deliver timely diagnostic assessment, and deliver improved pre-assessment and post-diagnostic support for children and adults.
Since the launch of the strategy, the information available for neurodivergent people and their families living in the area has improved with the publication of a comprehensive e-booklet providing a range of information all in one place. The neurodivergent e-booklet is available on the Dimensions Tool Website.
There are also lots of other organisations providing information about autism relevant for people with or without a diagnosis:
BBC Two’s recent Inside our Autistic Minds series helps autistic people illustrate how their minds work, helping them connect with their friends and family in a new, more authentic way.
You can also find more information about support for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in Warwickshire on Warwickshire’s SEND Local Offer webpages and follow the Local Offer Facebook page for the latest updates.